(WACO, Texas) – Emily Sanford did not pick up a welding torch until she was a student at Madisonville High School in East Texas. During that time, she did a lot of gas metal arc welding.
“I was raised around 4-H and FFA, but it was not welding at all,” she said. “None of my family are welders. I got introduced to it my freshman year of high school.”
Sanford said that she was not sure what she wanted to do after high school. But, she said her agriculture teachers played a role in convincing her to visit Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus and apply for the Welding Technology program.
“I have not regretted my decision at all,” she said.
One of the instructors she met on her campus tour was Carl Wilmeth, a lead instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program.
“Emily projects self-confidence, authority and enthusiasm in all things that she has done here at TSTC,” he said. “I would be thrilled to have more students like her in the welding program. Emily shows strong self-management in all her welding objectives.”
Sanford chose TSTC because of its affordability and Welding Technology program classes in automation and metallurgy. She also liked the college’s Money-Back Guarantee program, which enables students who sign up with Career Services during their first semester in five selected programs to participate in workshops. If the students do not have a job in their field within six months of graduation, they receive back their out-of-pocket tuition.
Sanford also wanted to learn tungsten inert gas welding while at TSTC.
“It is a cleaner process. It might cost more in materials, but you can make more money with it,” she said.
Sanford is scheduled to complete classes this fall for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology. In the spring, she plans to study for an advanced structural and pipe welding certification.
After graduating from TSTC and entering the workplace, Sanford said she wants to become a certified welding inspector, become an instructor or own her own business.
“Her training, coupled with her interest in learning, the attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile to get the job done, are all qualities that the welding industry employers are looking for,” said Richard Larson, an instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program. “She will be a great success in whatever career path she chooses in the welding industry.”
Texas had more than 50,000 brazers, cutters, solderers and welders making an annual mean wage of $46,940 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Such jobs are projected to increase to about 452,500 by 2029, according to the agency.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.